I've been wondering...as I work on my new layout, I've got the mainline track on a standard cork/foam roadbed. And that includes the yard tracks as well. My question is...are the yard tracks normally on the same grade as the mainline tracks? I thought - though I can't put my hands on a prototypical picture to prove it - that the mainline track was the best maintained and most ballasted section of line in and around a yard area. If that's the case, should the yard track necessarily be on the same level as the mainline? Or can I drop the mainline grade down to the common terrain grade that the yard tracks are sitting on - but ballast the mainline with greater care to highlight its importance? The reason I ask is that I didn't want all the yard turnouts to be at a different level than the yard tracks they serve - effectively making the yard sit lower than the mainline and perimeter turnout tracks. I'd like everything to be on the level, for not only appearance sake but also turnout reliability and functionality. The yard area here in Charlotte has tracks all over the place and on various grades. I'd like to model some of that, but I think the overall effect would be lost since I only have 14.5 inches of width to work with. I'm very constrained with this layout. About 16 feet of length, but only 14.5 to 22 inches width for a dog bone design. So trying to gain any elevation changes and make it look logical is a tough thing to model for me. I can't build mountains, or tunnels, or even great overpasses...the only thing I can do is adjust the elevation of the tracks by no more than an inch or so. (The layout is built on built-in, solid wood shelving units that rest against a load bearing wall. The wall runs vertically behind the shelving units but bends two inches above the back of the layout at a 45 degree angle to the ceiling. There's enough room at the back of the layout for the mainline to rest on roadbed.) So which do you do? Lower the mainline down to the yard level or boost the yard up to the mainline level which would make the yard tracks higher than the rest of the layout, roads and town/industry areas?